“On the day that Rabbi Abun passed away, Aba Oshaya of Tiriya was born, as in the verse [from Ecclesiastes]: “The sun rises and the sun sets.” (Ecc. Rabba, I)
R. Oshaya was a Sage from the city of Tiriya, who was recognized as a pious man of his generation and known for his leadership, honesty and deep religiosity. His pleasant ways aroused among the people a love of God (Levit. Rabba, 30).
R. Oshaya, or Aba Oshaya, was a fourth generation Amora, a Talmudic Sage of the fourth generation of rabbis after the compilation of the Mishna.
By trade he was a laundryman (JT Baba Qama 10:5) and he would wear clothes that were distinct from those who gave him laundry to wash so that they would not suspect that he had taken theirs, heaven forbid.
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When R. Oshaya passed away, his bed was seen flying up towards the heavens, driven by angels to the place prepared for him in heaven. Therefore, the Sages associated the verse ’If a man [is fool to] offer all his wealth for love / He would be laughed to scorn,’ (Song of Songs 6:7) with R. Oshaya of Tiriya, for the Holy-One-Blessed-Be-He’s love for R. Oshaya exemplifies love that cannot be purchased with wealth (based on Levit. Rabba 30:1, on).
We know of a tradition, appearing in the 16th century, of marking R. Oshaya of Tiriya’s place of burial at a site in the foothills of Peqi’in village. To this day, such a site remains located west of the village. The site is an attraction for all residents of the area, including non-Jews, who attribute powers and healing abilities to the soul of this righteous man.
According to the tradition of the Jews of Peqi’in (based on a story related in People of Peqi’in, by Rivka Alper):
One day, before sunrise, a member of the ‘Aj’aj family went to the flour mill in Wadi al-Qarn, with half a sack of wheat loaded onto his donkey. In Wadi Tiriya he descended to the spring to perform his ablutions for the morning [Moslem] prayers. Suddenly, he heard a voice call out: “A tenth man, a tenth man.” He raised his head and saw a man calling out to him from the burial place of R. Oshaya to fulfill the quorum [of ten Jewish men necessary for conducting communal prayers].
“Tether you donkey and follow me,” the man said to him. Immediately an opening appeared and he was led into the cave.
Men stood round, wrapped in white shrouds; he stood and prayed with them. His teeth were chattering and he did not look around. When the prayers were over, the man was led outside. One of the men thrust a coin and a stone into his hand, and asked him to place the coin in his purse and the stone in his flour sack, and to leave them there forever.
“And what you have seen here,” he added “reveal to no one, since if you do, you will give your life for it.”
The man ground his wheat, placed the stone in his flour, and returned home, but his spirit was heavy, as if the stone was weighing on his heart.
“What has happened to you ever since you returned from the mill?” asked his wife repeatedly, but he said nothing.
Beginning from that time, his purse was always full and there was no lack of flour in the sack. He returned what he had borrowed from his neighbors, and the flour remained plentiful.
The neighbors inundated them with questions, since months passed and he had not gone to the mill, while they had already gone several times.
“I swear by the life of the holy righteous men,” his wife said, “in the morning I bake pita in the yard – all the neighbors see it – and even if the entire village came I would be able to feed them.”
The entire village heard, and was astounded. They asked persistently, every day: “Is there still more flour in your sack”?
They no longer dared to ask him, for he would go around gloomy and low-spirited, and offered no response. His wife nagged him morning and night: “Where did the blessing on our flour and money come from? Did the righteous man give you a blessing that you are hiding from me? The entire village is mocking me for not knowing.”
The man lost his will to live, and one day he said to her: “Bring me ten elders and I will relate everything.”
“Come!” she shouted. “My husband wishes to reveal the secret of his wealth.” The elders ran after her to her house. The man began by reciting the “Shema” prayer, related what had happened to him, and straightaway closed his eyes and died.
Immediately, the blessing ceased. The flour ran out, as did the money.
Since then the family has been known as “Abu Tehin” – the owner of the flour. The progeny of this same man, who lived in the house of Yosef Ha-Cohen Toma, are known to this day and scattered across Israel, and the tradition is handed down from generation to generation.” (People of Peqi’in, p. 69-71 (in Hebrew).